Upcoming smartwatches 2021: Exciting devices we're waiting for

Our list of confirmed smartwatches coming this year
The most exciting upcoming smartwatches
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Smartwatches are the hottest property in tech right now, and despite still being early in 2021, there are plenty of upcoming devices to get excited about.

As we close out 2021, there will be a host of few and exciting devices hitting our wrists. The Galaxy Watch 4 with Wear OS is certainly the most interesting, and of course, the Apple Watch Series 7 will continue to lead the way.

Read on for our round-up of the upcoming smartwatches we're excited about.

Check our smartwatch reviews

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

ETA: August 2021

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

The Galaxy Watch 4 has now been confirmed by Samsung – and there's big changes ahead. What's more, the full details have leaked on Amazon Canada listings, so we have a clear idea of what's on offer.

There will be two versions of the Galaxy Watch 4, a standard and Classic version. That means no Galaxy Watch 4 Active this time out.

The big news is the Galaxy Watch 4 will run on a new updated version of Wear OS, which is a joint venture between Google and Samsung. That means it will be able to tap into a host of newly improved apps and services – and the two companies are on a charm offensive to get developers on board to challenge Apple's App Store for quality.

The standard Galaxy Watch 4 will land in 40mm and 44mm sizes, and ape the design language of the older Galaxy Watch Active 2 with an aluminium case. It will have a compact, lightweight and sporty design, the larger 44mm device will have 1.39-inch AMOLED display and 361mAh battery.

While we knew most of that already, the features list does come as a bit of a surprise. The standard Galaxy Watch 4 will boast body composition analysis, advanced sleep tracking, VO2 Max, blood oxygen tracking and a heart rate monitor.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Then comes the Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (above). That will land in 42mm and 46mm versions with a stainless steel case. Again, there’s body composition analysis, advanced sleep tracking, VO2 Max, blood oxygen tracking and a heart rate monitor. And the Classic will retain the iconic rotating bezel.

You can read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 rumor round-up for a complete overview.

Apple Watch Series 7

ETA: September 2021

Apple Watch Series 7

An Apple Watch has appeared like clockwork every September since 2014, so we have no reason to think this year will be any different. However, Apple is much better at keeping its secrets under wraps, so we don't yet have much clue what the Series 7 will bring.

Rumors have pointed towards a design change being the primary focus, although leakers can't agree how drastic this will be.

Jon Prosser released the above render based on CAD designs he'd supposedly been shown – but other rumors point to a minor design change to accommodate an improved screen, which could give the Series 7 thinner bezels but imperceptibly thicker.

Longer battery life has been another rumor, withs space saved on a new S7 chip given over to a bigger battery.

There's also been a lot of talk about new advanced sensors, especially after it was revealed that Rockley Photonics – a company pursuing blood pressure and glucose monitoring – was a key supplier to Apple. However, that seems a safer bet for the Apple Watch 8.

Overall, however, we know nothing for sure. Read our full Apple Watch Series 7 rumor round up for more detail and sources.

TicWatch E3

ETA: Out now

TicWatch E3

The Ticwatch E3 is only the second smartwatch to run the Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip (after the Ticwatch Pro 3) making it a top performer, and with a host of fitness and wellness features.

And it brings the power of the Snapdragon 4100 to a mid-range price point. It costs £179 – which is a competitive price tag for Wear OS and undercuts the likes of the Huawei Watch 3 and Oppo Watch.

At 12.6mm it’s not the slimmest, but it’s not going to trouble more slender wrists at 44mm and at 36g (without the strap) it’s not too bulky.

The screen is a middle-of-the-road 360x360 1.3-inch display with a 2.5D lens which won’t be winning any awards, but should do the job.

On board is GPS (with GLONASS and Beidou support) which powers the TicExercise app and its 20 workout modes.

There's no news on battery life, which is disappointing. A big part of both Snapdragon 4100 and the new Wear OS is battery life and there's a beefy 380mAH battery inside the Ticwatch E3 – so we're hoping for more than single day. The dearth of information does seem suspicious, however.

But there’s a bigger focus on health, with an ever-expanding list of Tic-branded apps that live on top of the Wear OS operating system, adding loads of features that make it ones of the richest Google-powered smartwatch ecosystems.

Moto G / Motorola One / Moto Watch (rumored)

ETA: June/July 2021

Moto G / Motorola One / Moto Watch

It looks as if the Moto 360 is coming back for a 4th generation – this time with three different versions: Moto Watch, Motorola One and Moto G.

CE Brands (a company that licences and reboots trusted brands) is behind the launch – two years after a misfiring attempt to bring back the Moto 360.

The Moto G looks to be getting a release first, with widely leaked materials indicating a June 2021 release date. Those materials suggest a Snapdragon 3100 powering Wear OS, with 1GB of RAM and 8GB storage. It’s very much the Moto 360 reimagined, out for a fourth generation.

The Moto Watch looks to have a square design and a passing resemblance to the Apple Watch.

And the Motorola One seems to be a premium version better materials, and more rumors suggest it will run the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform. Both the Moto Watch and Morotola One are set to be launched in July 2020.

Realme Watch 2

ETA: On sale in Malaysia now / Global TBC

Upcoming smartwatches 2021: Exciting devices we're waiting for

The Realme Watch 2 is now real and it seeks to pack in more features into a budget body than its predecessor that launched in early 2020.

It maintains a square look and features a 1.4-inch TFT 320x320 TFT touchscreen display. There's now up to 90 sports modes an optical heart rate monitor and an SpO2 sensor to monitor blood oxygen levels. It's also promising up to 12 days of battery life.

Once again though, this is one that will only work with Android phones. It's gone on sale in Malaysia for MYR 229, which works out to about $55. That's not far off the $50 the first Realme Watch costs, so if it does launch further afield it should stick around at that budget price point.

Wyze Watch

ETA: Out now / Global TBC

Wyze Watch

After the US-based company better known for its smart home gear launched a fitness band, we are now getting a Wyze smartwatch and it's a serious budget offering.

The $20 Wyze Watch comes in 44mm and 47mm size options with the smaller Watch packing a 1.4-inch LCD display and the larger option including a 1.75-inch screen.

Features-wise, you can expect daily activity tracking at the top of the list including sleep monitoring. It also finds room for a heart rate monitor and SpO2 to measure blood oxygen levels. It will also offer shortcuts to other Wyze devices, though unlike its Band there's no Amazon Alexa on board.

That's all wrapped up in a square design that carries a water resistant level that makes it only suitable for the odd splash of water, and certainly no swimming action.

It's now available in the US, with no details as yet if Wyze has plans to launch its watches in other countries and territories.

ZTE Watch Live

ETA: On sale in China now / Global TBC

ZTE Watch Live

The ZTE Watch Live sees a return to smartwatches for a company that dabbled in Wear OS and is now joining the likes of Xiaomi and Mobvoi's TicWatch GTX in serving up a smartwatch that's much kinder on your bank balance.

The square Watch Live packs in a 1.3-inch 240 x 240 TFT screen, which doesn't sound all that impressive. It does find room for the a heart rate monitor and an SpO2 sensor to take blood oxygen measurements.

There's the presence of 12 sports tracking profiles and there's the promise of anywhere up to 21 days of battery life, which gives it pretty impressive staying power on paper. You can also expect smartwatch staples like notification support, incoming call alerts and weather forecasts.

Priced at 249 yuan, that puts it around $38 and that's pretty cheap for a smartwatch. We'll be intrigued to see if this one makes it out of China sometime in 2021.

Zepp Z Titanium with ECG

ETA: On sale in China now / Global TBC

Zepp Z Titanium with ECG

Huami, which also makes the Amazfit brand watches, launched its Zepp E Square and Zepp E Circle watches and followed up with the more luxury-looking Zepp Z in November, which we are currently testing.

It's since announced a Zepp Z model in China that includes a desirable feature in the way of an ECG sensor. That means it matches the likes of Fitbit, Apple, Samsung and Huawei in offering medical grade-style heart rate readings with the view of detecting abnormalities in the heart among other more serious heart health insights.

Like its ECG-packing rivals, it's only available in China right now, so it remains to be seen whether it will launch elsewhere as it'll need to wrap up the appropriate regulatory approval to set the feature live.

ECG aside, it offers all the same features as the Zepp Z model available outside of China. That includes Huami’s BioTracker 2 PPG module to deliver optical based heart-rate monitoring, SpO2 tracking and stress detection wrapped up in classic watch styling, now with a fancier titanium alloy.

Google Pixel Watch (rumored)

ETA: October 2021

Google Pixel Watch (rumored)

It's the rumored smartwatch that has never gone away and with Google's acquisition of Fitbit, that speculation has surfaced once again.

The latest leaked information suggests it will be called Google Pixel Watch and the render above is based on what that leakster claims the smartwatch is going to look like.

Codenamed project 'Rohan' at Google HQ, the Pixel Watch will apparently feature a round, bezel-less look and will have 20 strap options. It's expected it could launch in October, which is usually a month Google chooses to launch new hardware.

We expect it of course to pack Wear OS, which has struggled to really impress. Google will surely hoping the Fitbit effect will help change that in time for when the Pixel Watch drops.

Rumoured smartwatches for 2021

Upcoming smartwatches 2021: Exciting devices we're waiting for

While all of the below devices are either confirmed or have been spotted at regulators, there are plenty of other devices we're looking forward to this year.

The Apple Watch Series 7 will surely launch in September – and could offer a change in design for the first time since the Series 4.

We're also looking forward to Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches. Not only will this yield a new flagship device, but will provide a blueprint for the rest of the Fossil Group line-up including Skagen, Kate Spade and Michael Kors for the next two years.

We're also tracking the launch of the Vivoactive 5. While we've recently seen the Garmin Venu 2 surface, Garmin's other multisport smartwatch is one one the key members of its line-up, and we'd love to see it slim down and really embrace the intersection of smartwatch features and top sports tracking.

And the Versa 4 and Charge 5 could get a showing this year, and we're eager to see what the first devices launched under the new Fitbit/Google partnership will yield – this would come hot on the heels of the new Fitbit Luxe.

Finally, the Huawei Watch GT3 will be an important release. The GT2 has shown how Huawei can bring long battery life and top sports features, and we're hoping it can build on that with its new focus on third party apps.